January's Can't-Miss Dish

Cassie Bowl - Whole Heart Provisions

Looking for a no-fail, mouthwatering, gonna-tell-your-friends-about-it plate? Each month, Boston Globe columnist Ellen Bhang highlights the dish you need to try right now—and something to sip alongside it. 

On the plate: Cassie Signature Bowl

Where to find it: At the Central Square location of Whole Heart Provisions, ambient light pours through the windows as you approach a gleaming counter. The menu of grain bowls, salads, and snacks—the same as at sister locations in Allston and Harvard Square—makes eating veggies a pleasure. “We don’t market ourselves as vegetarian,” explains chef-owner Rebecca Arnold. “It’s food that’s delicious and all plant-based. You can eat a whole bowl and not miss the meat or dairy.”

Notes on the nosh: The Cassie, one of nine signature bowls, is named for Cassie Piuma, the chef of Sarma in Somerville. Arnold cooked alongside Piuma for a year at the restaurant, becoming well-versed in Eastern Mediterranean flavors now showcased in the dish. It combines roasted eggplant, basil, and chickpeas—some fried for scrumptious crunch—then layers all ingredients onto your choice of marinated kale, arugula, jasmine rice, or brown rice-quinoa pilaf. Sweet dried currants contrast with the tartness of pickled cauliflower, and a luxurious drizzle of creamy harissa dressing pulls everything together.

Sip alongside: Curious about kombucha, the fermented, slightly fizzy beverage known for its probiotic goodness? The version here—sourced from Aqua ViTea Kombucha in Vermont—is made with green tea. It’s on offer in flavors like ginger, turmeric, and berry. Arnold characterizes the drink as a cross between soda and beer, but without the alcohol. “It’s like an adult soda that’s not too sweet,” she says.

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